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News About the Agricultural Products Industry

Simplify security requirements for agricultural products

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the alignment of the USDA Harmonized Good Agricultural Practices Audit Program (USDA H-GAP) with the requirements of the Agricultural Products Safety Rule of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) of the FDA.

The new step is part of a continuing effort to simplify the safety requirements of agricultural products that farmers must follow.

The Agricultural Products Safety Rule establishes minimum standards based on science for the safe growing, harvesting, packing and preservation of fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption.

The USDA GAP Harmonized Audit Program is an audit developed as part of the GAP Agricultural Product Harmonization Initiative, an industry-driven effort to develop standards of good agricultural food safety practices and audit checklists for prior operations and after the harvest.

The aligned components include areas such as biological soil modifications; legume shoots; domesticated and wild animals; worker training; health and hygiene and equipment, tools and buildings.

$2,000 billion available to farmers affected by hurricanes and fires in 2017

Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, announced that agricultural producers affected by hurricanes and wildfires in 2017 can request financial assistance to recover and rebuild their agricultural operations. Those interested can register until November 16, 2018.

Eligible crops, trees, shrubs or vines, located in a county included in a Presidential Emergency Disaster or Disaster Designation Statement by a Secretariat as a primary county, are eligible for assistance if the farmer suffered a loss because of a hurricane in 2017.

Eligibility is determined by the county committees of the Farm Services Agency (FSA).

Losses of agricultural products due to conditions caused by last year’s wildfires and hurricanes, including excessive rains, high winds, floods, landslides, fires and dense smoke, may qualify for assistance through the program.

For more information about FSA disaster assistance programs, visit www.farmers.gov/recover/whip.

PACA Regulations Defends Traders

Organic labels must be removed from imported fumigated products

In a joint letter to all licensees of the Perishable Agricultural Products Act (PACA), the USDA Fair Trade Practices Program and the National Organic Program reminded US importers that agricultural products treated with a substance banned by USDA organic regulations or that are subject to ionizing radiation, must not be sold, labeled or presented as organic products.

PACA holders who sell or label fumigated products as organic may be subject to sanctions under the Organic Food Production Act (OFPA) and PACA.

People and companies with PACA licenses can intermediate, manipulate or sell organic agricultural products. PACA holders who are intermediaries in imports of organic products may not need organic certification, however, they are responsible for ensuring that imported organic products comply with all organic USDA regulations.

About Hernando Ramírez-Santos

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Editorial and Social Media Coordinator, Abasto Magazine. Accomplished and innovative leader and journalist with over 30 years of experience in print, digital, radio and television.

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